The dark truth about mechanical keyboards and gaming

Eurogamer's Will Judd flirts with heresy: "Are mechanical keyboards really good for gaming?"

When it comes to PC gaming peripherals, stats and specs drive purchases. Gaming monitors became popular because they offered lower latency or higher refresh rates, while gaming mice boasted higher sensitivities and improved tracking accuracy. Yet this quantitative trend doesn't seem to apply to one peripheral in particular: mechanical keyboards. No single stat separates mechs from their non-mechanical counterparts, yet mechanical keyboards are routinely recommended over alternatives that cost a fraction of the price. Why is this the case? Are there genuine gaming advantages?

Thankfully, it's just a cunningly-titled top list of models Judd recommends; I have, therefore, titled my linkpost to his listpost with an even more shamelessly clickbaity title.

I do have an opinion, though, that might justify it: it doesn't really matter what mechanical keyboard you get so long as you don't get a cheap one. What's most important is learning which sort of switch suits you best -- linear, tactile, clicky -- and thenceforth completely ignoring the online cult of mechanical keyboards, because you got one to play games, not waste enormous sums of money on custom keycaps and bizarre, barely-functional niche layouts, like I do.

In fact, if you don't even want to think about all that stuff, and simply want to discover a mechanical keyboard that is good for playing games without further ado, allow me to commit fully to the most base and foul heresy and recommend that you just buy whatever Logitech is making right now [Amazon]. Read the rest

Tech analyst claims Apple is giving up on butterfly keyboards

Tim Cook waved goodbye as Jony Ive pulled out of the car lot for the last time. Without dropping the smile, Cook tilted his head at Jeff Williams. "Finally," he whispered though his teeth. "We can fix the fucking keyboards"

Here's Benjamin Mayo, quoting Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple to include new scissor switch keyboard in 2019 MacBook Air and 2020 MacBook Pro

Apple is apparently set to ditch the butterfly mechanism used in MacBooks since 2015, which has been the root of reliability issues and its low-travel design has also not been popular with many Mac users.

In a report published today, Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple will roll out a new keyboard design based on scissor switches, offering durability and longer key travel, starting with the 2019 MacBook Air. The MacBook Pro is also getting the new scissor switch keyboard, but not until 2020.

The new scissor switch keyboard is a whole new design than anything previously seen in a MacBook, purportedly featuring glass fiber to reinforce the keys. Apple fans who have bemoaned the butterfly keyboard should be optimistic about a return to scissor switches.

Tech analysts are often wrong, but this one reportedly has an unusually good record. Read the rest

Apple considering moving hardware production out of China

The escalating tariff slap-fight between the United States of America and the People's Republic of China is messing with so many bottom lines that the only people playing the market and making bank are those with companies that make red ink in their portfolios. Even Apple, a company that pretty much prints its own damn money, isn't immune. In a week where Chinese telecom and computing giant Huawei declared that they'd be making billions less than forecasted, signs that the fruit flavored phone floggers may be looking to shift their operations away from mainland China have cropped up.

From the Nikkei Asian Review:

Apple has asked its major suppliers to evaluate the cost implications of shifting 15% to 30% of their production capacity from China to Southeast Asia as it prepares for a fundamental restructuring of its supply chain, the Nikkei Asian Review has learned.

The California-based tech giant's request was triggered by the protracted trade tensions between Washington and Beijing, but multiple sources say that even if the spat is resolved there will be no turning back. Apple has decided the risks of relying so heavily on manufacturing in China, as it has done for decades, are too great and even rising, several people told Nikkei.

The Nikkei Asian Review goes on to talk up the fact that a slowing birthrate, concerns over dependency on centralized production in one locale and rising labor costs are a part of driving Apple's wandering industrial eyes to look on over yonder. Read the rest

A new AI tool from Adobe can detect Photoshopped faces

We presume it can tell by the pixels.

$999 monitor stand explained

This alarmingly funny video shows an "Apple Engineer" explaining the company's forthcoming $999 monitor stand. This guy is better than the "Downfall" meme!

Also funny: to see people who had complained vocally about Apple's lack of truly "pro" gear denouncing it when it finally came along, because it was too pro. Perhaps Apple should have made a promotional video shamelessly explaining the stand and its veblen-tech price. People would have hated it, all the same, but at least it would have been clear who the customer was.

If by "pro" we didn't mean that kind of "corporate buyer" level, what does it mean? That fuzzy-edged class of designers, developers and "creatives" often identified as Apple fans?

Here's one way of looking at it: if you're all in for Apple and were waiting to spend $2500 on a modular computer to edit photos or book designs or write beautifully-typeset articles or the simple code that generates them—people like me!—Apple's answer to that is no. We can get a non-modular iMac, or we can get a Mac Mini with an eGPU and external monitor for the specialized work that requires those things.

If someone sold an eGPU that actually matches the Mac Mini (they're all either huge ugly PCI-slotted toasters or plasticy MXM-slotted bricks) I bet they'd clean up.

Hell, I'd be all in for a pro version with XLR connectors, phantom power—and maybe a SCSI port or two. Read the rest

U.S. will examine 2016 North Carolina poll books for election hacking

Finally. It's been almost 3 years.

Trump approved Saudi Arabia nuclear technology permits twice after Khashoggi murder

The approvals show "President Trump's eagerness to give the Saudis anything they want," said Sen.Tim Kaine (D-VA)

Developers sue Apple over App Store practices

The lawsuit seeks 'fairer profit, for developers’ digital products.'

Oculus Quest and Rift S now shipping

Oculus Quest, the so-called 'iPod of VR', is now shipping.

Native American tribes need better internet access. This one weird spectrum might do the trick.

Marginalized Native American communities throughout the United States could have better access to high-speed internet if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decides to allow tribes to use the Educational Broadband Services (EBS) spectrum for services like telemedicine, transmitting medical records electronically, or an online high school. Read the rest

FCC denies China Mobile's application to provide services in U.S. over national security concerns

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied an application by the Chinese telecommunications provider China Mobile to provide services in the U.S. over concerns about national security and risks to law enforcement. Read the rest

How a 13-year-old boy was radicalized by the alt-right, then figured out they were full of it

A 13-year-old boy is wrongly accused of sexual harassment, then railroaded by zealous school administrators. Abused by the system and shunned by real-life friends, he finds new ones—on Reddit and 4chan. What Happened After My 13-Year-Old Son Joined the Alt-Right.

Those online pals were happy to explain that all girls lie—especially about rape. And they had lots more knowledge to impart. They told Sam that Islam is an inherently violent religion and that Jews run global financial networks. (We’re Jewish and don’t know anyone who runs anything, but I guess the evidence was convincing.) They insisted that the wage gap is a fallacy, that feminazis are destroying families, that people need guns to protect themselves from government incursions onto private property. They declared that women who abort their babies should be jailed.

Sam prides himself on questioning conventional wisdom and subjecting claims to intellectual scrutiny. For kids today, that means Googling stuff. One might think these searches would turn up a variety of perspectives, including at least a few compelling counterarguments. One would be wrong.

Dealing with malicious do-gooder school officials is difficult, not least because some see that fight as an opportunity to dismantle public education or to shield young men from consequences.

Tech companies, though, everyone can see those guys coming.

The term "complicity" lets them off the hook, but "conspiracy" and "collusion" are too freighted with nearby political goings-on. I think the best term for what Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook do is the plain non-legal sense of connivance: a passive consent to wrongdoing and crisis, a covert willingness to permit behavior they publicly disclaim, and a language of justification to go with it, all in pursuit of outcomes that benefit them. Read the rest

What it's like in a scam call center

Jim Browning got a look into a Kolkata call center via one of the scammers' insecure machines: "You're looking at the webcam of a scammer named Deva ██████. He's currently uploading the phone numbers of people who will be his next potential victims. All are numbers of people who have previously fallen victim to a popup scam."

These guys are a particularly nasty group from Kolkata in India. They run a refund scam and this video shows what their call center looks like, how they operate, who and where they are. I've sent a link to the unblurred version of this video to the Kolkata Cyber Police (for all the good that it will do).

The offices are "small and cramped" and full of smoke. Read the rest

YouTube star Austin Jones faces prison after child porn guilty plea, coerced teen girls to perform sexual acts live online

U.S. attorney’s office to seek 11-year prison sentence for Jones, 26, on Friday May 3.

Google tells U.S. House it spends 'hundreds of millions' on content review each year, found +1M 'terrorist videos' on YouTube in Q1 2019

Alphabet, parent company of Google and YouTube, told a U.S. House panel that it spends hundreds of millions of dollars on reviewing content each year, and claims to have identified at least one million “suspected terrorist videos” on YouTube in the first quarter of 2019. Read the rest

1MB: free website host for coders

1mb.site is a simplified hosting service for personal websites with all the bells and whistles: custom domains, SSL, databases and an online code/content editor. It's free of charge so long as you don't have more than 1mb of stuff.

1MB is a free website host designed to make web development feel more approachable. You do not need to browse through complicated settings menus or juggle a bunch of server credentials here. You can edit your site directly inside your browser. 1MB has a custom code editor with some useful features such as starter templates, live site previews, and themes. 1MB gets you online fast by letting you focus on coding.

This is great and I hope it'll be a hit, because setting up cloud hosts is a frustrating experience. That said, having had to so often, I know useful things you'd not figure out from a service like 1mb. Read the rest

Facebook expects up to $5 billion FTC fine over privacy

$5 billion is about one month's revenue for Facebook.

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